The Wildlife Trust’s Blashford Lakes nature reserve in the New Forest is a haven for wildlife and people - and we recently celebrated its 20th birthday.
1 It’s a team effort
Blashford Lakes nature reserve covers 150 hectares within the Avon Valley. It’s managed by the Wildlife Trust in partnership with Bournemouth Water, New Forest District Council and Wessex Water.
2 Blashford Lakes has a secret military history
Today it may be famous for its birdlife, but seventy years ago Blashford Lakes was known for some very different airborne high-fliers. During World War II it was the home of RAF Ibsley and its squadrons of spitfires. The base was later decommissioned in 1946.
3 From industrial gravel quarry to watery haven
Blashford Lakes is also home to Ibsley Water – the largest freshwater body in Hampshire. Like the other lakes, Ibsley Water was created from decades of extensive gravel extraction, leaving deep and wide holes in the ground to be filled by the water you see today.